Filed Under Art and Design

Mel Rose and Rose Iron Works

The Rose Iron Works, opened in 1904 on Cleveland's east side. The oldest continually-operating decorative metalwork company in the United States, it was founded by Martin Rose, a Hungarian immigrant who worked in Budapest and Vienna before moving to Cleveland.

Rose provided craft metalwork that adorned many of Cleveland's notable dwellings and buildings during the height of the city's growth. The works included fanciful dividing screens at Halle's as well as the decorative iron gates that guarded many of the Millionaire's Row estates on Euclid Avenue. Informed by European ornamental beaux-arts architecture, Rose worked in the tradition of other craft ironworkers such as Samuel Yellin.

Even as the market for ornamental ironwork began to decline as a result of changing styles and the Depression, Rose Iron Works thrived. During the 1930s, the Rose Iron Works produced some of the most notable Art Deco ironwork in the nation, including styling recognized internationally for their uniquely American characteristics.

The company turned to the production of industrial products during World War II- an activity that now dominates its business-but it never forsook the craft and metalworking traditions of 19th century Europe.

Video

"I don't have blood in my veins, I have rust" Mel Rose describes how the family business is run. Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
"Anything that can be drawn, can be done" Mel Rose describes the company's design process and client services. Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Wartime "Rube Goldbergs" Mel Rose describes how the company survived the rationing of metals during World War II. Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Audio

The Philosophy of Mel Rose Melvin Rose explains his approach to design Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Art Deco And The Great Depression Melvin Rose recalls his father's idea to bring a new style of ironwork design to Cleveland Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
A Mural Story Ironworker Melvin Rose recalls a work he struggled to complete as a young artisan Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Art Deco Screen, 1930 Paul Feher's Art Deco Screen. Feher made this masterpiece while at Rose Iron Works in 1930. It is in the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art
Martin Rose and Crew, ca. 1910 Image courtesy of Rose Iron Works
Anvil and Firing Stove Anvil and Firing Stove at Rose Iron Works, ca. 2005 Image coutesy of Emma Yanoshik-Wing
Rose Iron Works Foundry, ca. 2005 Image coutesy of Emma Yanoshik-Wing
Iron Fixtures, ca. 2005 Image coutesy of Emma Yanoshik-Wing
Interior, Rose Iron Works, ca. 2005 Image coutesy of Emma Yanoshik-Wing
Blacksmith With Anvil, ca. 2005 A blacksmith with anvil and hammer at Rose Iron, ca. 2005. Image coutesy of Emma Yanoshik-Wing
Melvin Rose at Design Table, ca. 2005 Image coutesy of Emma Yanoshik-Wing
History of Ironworking Developed in the 1930s based on Martin Rose's recollections of his training in Vienna, this frieze tells the history of ironworking. Image courtesy Rose Iron Works.

Location

1536 East 43rd Street, Cleveland, OH 44103

Metadata

Emma Yanoshik-Wing, James Calder, and Mark Tebeau, “Mel Rose and Rose Iron Works,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 28, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/13.